Quick Attack: Dust 514

Quick Attacks are Vagary.TV’s way of giving you, the reader, a glimpse at a game we are playing. This could be a game we are reviewing in full or just something we picked up for a few days to kill some time, but either way it will highlight thoughts and impressions from the first hour or two of gameplay. Opinions can change before our final review, though.

In this Quick Attack, we look at developer CCP’s massively online multiplayer shooter, Dust 514.

When I saw an early demo of Dust 514 and witnessed players from the EVE Online PC game bombarding ground troops in Dust 514 from space, I was sold. Having had the chance to play the Dust 514 beta before and after it was opened to Playstation Plus users, I feel confident enough to talk about this overwhelmingly complex game.

  • After I created a character and chose his corporation and faction, pages of text tutorials were thrown at me upon opening any of the game’s numerous menus. From creating a custom class – also known as a “fitting” – to purchasing and using new skillbooks in order to be qualified to use new purchasable equipment – using earnable “Isk” – this game doesn’t hide how complex it can be.
  • Setting aside all of the complexities for later is somewhat easy, as an instant action option and unlimited use pre-set classes let you pop into land based battles on fairly large arenas riddled with hills and sparse buildings for cover.
  • The shooting feels great, whether it’s a simple assault rifle or one of the giant rocket launchers or chainguns. Shooting also sounds great and has a nice sci-fi bullet chatter to it that suits the size of each weapon. I used in-game experience to upgrade my skill with rifles and pistols and it made a difference, with my shots being noticeably more accurate.

  • I took a few days and dedicated my free time to trying to work my way towards being a dropship pilot. This meant I had to use skillpoints to upgrade my vehicle handling ability up to a point where I was finally permitted to buy a piloting skillbook. Once that happened, I was able to buy a dropship with the “Isk” currency I earned in-game from my infantry exploits but, unfortunately, I bought the wrong brand of dropship and it wasn’t compatible with the specialization of piloting that I had. On my way to get more in-game experience, several of my allies were nice/negligent enough to leave dropships landed and unmanned around the battlefield, so I had fun flying those around and dropping off allied troops until a tank shot me out of the sky.
  • In game resources, such as weapons and vehicles, can be outrighted depleted and have a limited inventory. These have to be replenished with in-game currency that’s easy to earn, though I question the value behind making a player maintain inventory of something they’ve worked so hard to acquire. My guess is that it’s supposed to create a sort of attachment to a particular brand or type of weapon.
  • The in game music fills the lack of prominent footstep audio with a droning techno beat laid over a rythmic, feral war drum beat. Small music notes quip intermittently against the soundtrack whenever you get a kill.
  • I never, over the course of several months, experienced any noticeable lag or latency issues. Sure, the game is still clearly in beta, so there’s a fair bit of texture pop-in, loading screens that hang indefinitely, and small glitches, but the frequency of serious issues has decreased since the launch of the closed Beta several months ago.

Dust 514 is really fun, looks good, and has a huge depth of gameplay systems. It’s also incredibly ambitious, purporting to blend the gigantic player-run universe of EVE Online with the planetside infantry battles of the free-to-play Dust 514 on consoles. However, there’s a good reason that I see a lot of my enthusiasm mirrored in the rest of the games press with nary a notable amount of first hand understanding – Dust 514 doesn’t hide how complicated and deep it can get, but it will take more than expansive text tutorials to make this game approachable for players. It’s as much a subject to learn as it is a game to play and I fear that many players with a genuine interest in this fun and ambitious shooter will be steadily pushed away by all of its systems.

Be sure to stay tuned when we have our full review of Dust 514 when it launches in 2013.




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Author: Kyle Baron View all posts by
It all started with a 30+ page FAQ on Mechassault back on his high-school lunch breaks. Since then, Kyle has graduated from the award winning journalism program at Humber College and has written for and managed several game editorial/news publications.